After the 80’s, Columbia Records dumped Johnny Cash, after a series of albums that didn’t come anywhere close to selling as many copies as the “popular” artists of the time. At the time, groups like Alabama were at the top of the charts, simply because “Country” radio and Nashville business executives were going after a certain demographic, simply because they knew how to make a quick buck. They took Pop music, and called it Country, so they could get more fans under the same roof, and make more money. They have done this now more than ever, but in the 80’s and 90’s, they ignored Johnny Cash while doing it. I don’t think they would ever get away with that today, if Johnny were still alive. After Johnny signed with Rick Rubin on American Recordings in the 90’s, he began to make records that reflected the roots of his music, and of Country music in general. These albums have been regarded as classics, yet they’re only about 20 years old. As soon as they were released, Johnny became the center of attention in the Rock and MTV world, gaining awards and video plays from MTV, and several Grammys. Yet, Nashville completely ignored him, which made them look like fools, to those who hadn’t already been sucked into the Nashville game, which was growing at the time. Later, the Nashville establishment would honor him for these great albums…after he died. This proved how phony Nashville is. Everyone acted all sad when he passed away in Nashville, but they didn’t do anything to respect him in his final years. They treated him like he didn’t exist. That can’t be forgiven, and they don’t deserve to be forgiven for it, probably. Funny…see a recurring theme? Nashville’s to blame for almost everything wrong in music. Hmm…coincidence…I think not.
Great documentary about Cash’s Rick Rubin albums: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL-oFV9SE6U
Live version of Drive On from the first Cash/Rubin album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5h1139x_ns